Tony Gilroy’s gerunds

A wise reader suggested I look at Tony Gilroy’s use of gerunds. As the thing I’m working on at the moment is not going well (no surprise there!) I cast about for something else to do besides suffer.

So, here is a page from THE BOURNE IDENTITY by Tony Gilroy. Based on Robert Ludlum’s book.

Nice use of “ing” words. Please note, in copying and pasting, the margins got a little wonky.

Tony Gilroy gerunds



Filed under Good Writing, Screenwriting

6 responses to “Tony Gilroy’s gerunds

  1. Melody Lopez

    I like to watch movies with subtitles… it helps me “see” dialog and this helps me recognize how “short” it has to be when I plan to sit and write my own bit… but in the cartoon movies…since a lot of action happens when some creatures are moving about…I noticed the different tenses they use… so I looked it up in a grammar book…and it explained to me why it was sometimes in that form that feels more like active voice (he sits) vs. the gerund (sitting) and I realized its cause sitting is what he’s currently doing… and from a visual perspective when writing it out and having people see it… it seems to “play better in the readers head” if you are describing an active moment…

    I’m not sure if that made sense…but that’s how I analyzed it and I try and visualize what I’m seeing and use the correct tense accordingly…it seldom comes out perfect and I’ve learned how incredibly yet subtly I can come across unclear…but you know what? at least I’m trying….and am humble enough to always try and figure out “how can I be more clear and implement Will Aker’s Rule 50? cause goodness knows from my head to the paper doesn’t translate to the readers head quite like I’d intended it… but the good news is…

  2. milo andrus

    Have used your book extensively. I am writing a screenplay takes place in Hawaii. Local folk use pidgin. My question is about usage, over use, etc. When a character, “we wuz goin’.” When does a reader become put off by usage. Mahalo, (thanks), MMA

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Good question, Milo.
      Very hard to answer, actually. Some is good. More is too much.
      Assume the actors will do a lot.
      Word order and syntax will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
      If a reader has trouble following it, there’s too much.
      If it reads like thick dialect, there’s too much. The Uncle Remus stories are a good model to avoid. Way too much.

      At the moment, I can’t think of a movie to suggest you watch / read the script.

      Share it with your reader’s group. Get the opinion of others.

      You have to have some of that language so we understand where we are, and who is talking… but not so much where it slows down the read.

  3. Sydney Bodeen

    Earl Mac Rauch uses gerunds to similar effect in Buckaroo Banzai. Look for the shooting script, dated 3.30.83. A ripping read.

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